Watauga County Schools will operate on a regular schedule with regular bus routes Aug. 21.
Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said students would have an opportunity to study and experience the upcoming solar eclipse during the school day.
“We considered all the options, and feel the best choice is to stay the course with a full day schedule and give as many students as possible the opportunity to safely view the partial eclipse with teachers and safe viewing glasses,” Elliott said.
“I know that some parents will keep their students out of school in order to travel to the path of totality, and some may choose to pick their children up early from school that day. I fully understand those choices, but we plan to have fun viewing and educational activities available at our schools for the children who cannot travel or who otherwise would not have a chance to view the eclipse safely.”
Eclipse viewing events are planned all over the school district. Blowing Rock sixth-grade science teacher Allison McFalls said her eclipse education activities would involve the entire school.
“We will have several stations set up around the field for students to rotate through that day,” McFalls said. “There are stations that help students get a feel for the mechanics of how eclipses occur, the scale of our solar system and celestial bodies involved in eclipses, as well as some related to cultural stories and even some art connections.”
McFalls said all of the Blowing Rock teachers will be trained in safe solar viewing techniques, and students can use eclipse glasses, pinhole projectors, and our SunSpotter solar viewing apparatus to safely view the eclipse.
The school plans to have live streaming of the event starting at 10:00 a.m. in the auditorium (when the eclipse is scheduled to begin on the West Coast). McFalls said Blowing Rock parents were invited to pick up their children Aug. 21 and join students on the field for prime viewing, which will be 2:38 p.m. for the High Country.
Blowing Rock Police and Fire Departments will be on hand at the school to assist with parking, traffic and safety.
Any parents or community members who would like to volunteer to help with solar eclipse activities on August 21 should contact the principal at the appropriate school.
For tips on safe eclipse viewing, visit www.eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.